Yahoo in talks to sell 15-25 percent of Alibaba: source
By Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc could be weeks away from selling 15 to 25 percent of Alibaba Group's stock back to China's largest e-commerce company, in a deal designed to eliminate complexities that had scuttled the parties' previous negotiations, a person familiar with the matter said.
The two companies have been in talks for a month, the person said, but cautioned that there is no guarantee a deal will be reached.
Numerous discussions have been held in recent years about a deal for Alibaba to reclaim some or all of the 40 percent stake in the company that Yahoo acquired in 2005.
A $17 billion tax-free asset swap between the two companies fell apart in February.
The latest deal would not be tax-free and would be much more straightforward, the person told Reuters on Friday.
"The overall complexity of this deal is much simpler. There's no IRS risk, there's no complications with regards to the identification of assets," the person said. In a best case scenario, a deal could be weeks away, the person said.
The situation may have become more complicated following Thursday's revelation that Yahoo Chief Executive Scott Thompson's resume falsely stated that he had earned a computer science degree in college.
Yahoo, which initially called it an "inadvertent error," has since said its board is reviewing the matter. Activist investor Third Point, which is leading a proxy fight against Yahoo's board of director and which discovered the error in Thompson's resume, has demanded that Yahoo fire Thompson by Monday. Continued...